Feb. 26, 2021
Two simultaneous legal cases: 11 years and 6 months’ imprisonment, 74 lashes of the whip and 140 million tomans monetary fine
Conspiring against national security
Insulting Iranian officials
Abbas Dehghan is an Iranian Gonabadi Sufi dervish and one of the managers of the Majzooban-e Noor website, a news site that focuses on Gonabadi Sufi Dervish affairs. He was sentenced to imprisonment and whipping after participating in the dervish protests that took place from February to March 2018 in Tehran and which later became known as the Haftom-e Golestan Protests, in reference to the district of Tehran in which they took place.
The 2018 dervish protests took place over the course of a month on Haftom-e Golestan St in the Pasdaran District of Tehran. This street was located near the house of Noor Ali Tabandeh, the qutb, or spiritual leader of the Ni'matullahi Gonabadi Sufi Order, the largest Sufi order in Iran, who was at the time under enforced house arrest. On February 19, 2018 and February 20, 2018, plainclothes security police forces violently intervened in the protests and arrested many of the protesting Sufi dervishes, handing down prison sentences to them, as well as other punishments: whipping, monetary fines and even in some cases the death penalty.
Dehghan was arrested during these clashes with the security police forces. Over the course of the next few months, he was interrogated on a number of occasions and transferred between the Shapour Police Department, Section 2 A of Evin Prison and Fashafuyeh Prison, also known as the Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary. During these few months, Dehghan was reportedly coerced into giving a false confession under the pressure of torture and with the security officials threatening to rape his wife if he did not confess.
More than two years later, on January 29, 2021, while he was still being held in prison on temporary detention, media outlets reported that Abbas Dehghan had been sentenced to 11 years and six months’ imprisonment by Branch 28 of the Islamic Revolutionary Courts of Tehran and Branch 1146 of the Criminal courts of Tehran.
In one of his legal cases that was heard in Branch 1146 of the Criminal Courts of Tehran, Dehghan had been accused of “disturbing the public order,” “insulting government officials,” “assaulting members of the Basij [a paramilitary militia organisation affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps]” and “inciting the murder of Mohammad Hossein Haddadian.”
Mohammad Hossein Haddadian was a member of the Basij, and was reportedly wounded by a hunting rifle and then run over by a car. However, according to some media reports, the court issued an “order to halt prosecution” in Dehghan’s case in regards to the charge relating to Mohammad Hossein Haddadian’s death. This suggests that there was not enough evidence to convict Dehghan on this charge.
In total, Branch 1146 of the Criminal Courts of Tehran sentenced Abbas Deghan to six years and six months’ imprisonment, 74 lashes of the whip, and the payment of a monetary fine of 140 million tomans. This sentence was upheld in its entirety by the Courts of Appeals.
In a separate legal case that was heard in Branch 28 of the Islamic Revolutionary Courts of Tehran, Dehghan has also been sentenced to five years’ imprisonment on the charge of “gathering and colluding against national security.” Dehghan did not appeal the Revolutionary Courts’ verdict in this legal case and the sentence is final.
Mostafa Daneshjou, a lawyer who represents Gonabadi Sufi dervishes, published a tweet on his personal Twitter account on January 29, 2021 in which he confirmed Dehghan’s conviction. In his tweet Daneshjou wrote: “In accordance with the rules for enforcing sentences with multiple criminal charges, he [Dehghan] will be required to serve a minimum of six years and three months’ imprisonment, his whipping punishment and the payment of the monetary fine.”
Approximately three years had passed from the time that Abbas Dehghan was arrested until the time that the courts issued their final judgement in January 2021. In accordance with the sentence against him, Abbas Dehghan will be required to serve the remaining three years and three months of his prison sentence.